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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Thursday Post

The week is almost done and then I have a three day weekend! Hooray!! I know that it sounds crazy, as I only started working a week and a half ago, but an extra day off sounds fabulous!

I am really enjoying teaching my acting class. So far it's my favorite. My voice class is alright, but I think it's only a matter of time before my students realize that I'm a fraud and that I have consistently been told by directors and teachers that my voice is my weakest component... ah well. And public speaking is public speaking.... I'm not super jazzed about it but I have some interesting students in the class.

In other news, I added it up today and I have at the very minimum 35 costumes to obtain for Cinderella, the first mainstage show of the season. After meeting with the director yesterday I convinced him that we need to move the auditions up so that I can have more time. 35 costumes!!! And that isn't including however many extras he decides to have. I'm sure that we will be able to pull some of them from storage and we'll rent some of the others, but I would like to build at least ten of them. Wish me (and the girls who work for me in the costume shop) luck!! Of course, nothing can be really started until we have a finalized budget (Paul is trying to find me more money) and a cast... until then I will just work on my pathetic renderings and worry! :)

Reid and I are planning on going to the mountains for a hike on Saturday with a married couple who are also new faculty members this year at Adams (Jared is a new earth science prof and Renee is chemistry). It will be nice to be out with people our age and good to go exploring while it's still warm. I will certainly post pictures if we get some good ones!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Great Sand Dunes and Zapata Falls

Reid and I decided to be tourist yesterday and headed for the Great Sand Dunes (they're about thirty miles east and north of Alamosa). We got there about 12:30 (the hottest part of the day). Though the air was only about 80, the sand on the dunes can reach 140. And as we had Tater, we did not actually climb the dunes. Instead we walked along the creek bed at the bottom of the dunes known as Medano Creek (there is only flowing water a few months of the year). Despite there being no flowing water the sand was cool to the touch and Tater enjoyed the walk very much. The dunes are breathtakingly beautiful and such a bizarre natural phenomenon. We bought a year pass, so we will be going back when it is cooler to climb them.

(Reid and Tater in the "creek")
On our way back from the Dunes, we stopped at Zapata Falls. It is an intense three mile climb... for the car :) The road up to the Falls is pretty steep and a lot of switch backs, because the falls lie in the foothills of Mt. Blanca (the mountain at the end of the Sangre de Cristo range, and the second highest peak in Colorado). Once you get to the parking lot it is only about a half mile climb up to the stream that is fed by the falls.

(This is the path... a bit rocky but if you take it slow it's not too bad. Tater laid down at one point to drink his water!)

(This is the stream... the temperature drops ten to fifteen degrees near the stream!)

Then you have to wade through the stream into what appears to be a small crack in the rock face.

(This is the small crack)

You turn the corner once you're in the canyon (which is only about ten feet across) and the noise is amazing, the force of the water barrling down the rock behind really intense. It was so beautiful and unfortunately, with the amount of water spray in the air, our little camera didn't do it justice. I think it is one of those things that has to be seen (and the cold mountain water felt) to truly appreciate.

(Us with the base of the waterfall behind us)

Tater was exceptional for the whole thing, forging the water as we asked him to (though there were a few times we picked him up because the water was so cold and at points a little deep for him). We walked back to our car with a renewed vigor in our steps, the cold water and beautiful sight of the waterfall fresh in our minds. Ahhh... it's good to be a tourist!

(We met some very nice tourist from Buffalo, NY on the way back down the mountain who took our picture and then we took theirs)

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Don't Judge a Book By Its Cover

Tater decided that we needed to wake up at 6:45 this morning (the first morning of the weekend, mind you). So I got up and took him out and once we were outside I decided why not take a walk around the park. It was pretty because the sun was just coming up and once around the loop is only half a mile.

We were about three quarters of the way around when I saw a dog lying on the end of a sleeping bag with a sleeping person inside. Suddenly the serenity of the morning shattered. Here I was enjoying a brisk little walk with my dog while someone else had been "forced" to sleep in the park with theirs.

I walked Tater the rest of the way back, cleaned off his feet and fed him his breakfast. But the thought of that person (and that dog) not having breakfast was nagging at me. So I did what any bleeding heart liberal or charitable Christian would do... I packed a lunch (complete with a little bag of dog food and some dog bones) and walked back over.

By the time I got there the dog was off the sleeping bag and exploring here and there. The person had woken up and I could see it was actually two people, with two sleeping bags that they had zipped together. As I got really close I saw a cellphone lying on the man's sandals next to them and thought "that's strange."

But I asked anyway. "Umhmm... excuse me. I saw you lying here while I was walking my dog a few minutes ago and I was wondering if you were hungry." They both looked up at me with blurry eyes and then quickly said with a smile, "Oh no, we're fine." And so, I walked back to my house, with the lunch and I'm drinking the little Coke right now (and Tater is lying on my lap in the computer chair... I think he's thankful that I'm not leaving like the last five mornings).

Anyway, who sleeps in the park (that is not supposed to be open at night) with just two sleeping bags by choice?? I guess a couple in love does. Strike that. Make it a non-hungry couple in love.

Friday, August 24, 2007

First week done!

I have just finished teaching my last class of the week! What a week this has been. It has been an emotional rollercoaster (and I don't see that ending any time soon!). The biggest swing was between Wednesday night (lying on our bed at 7pm facing at least two more hours of class planning and crying) to Thursday morning (having a GREAT Intermediate Acting class that left me buzzing for hours). There is a very good reason why everyone in Grad School said that your first year of teaching is harder... I haven't (yet) found it more time-taxing, but it is definitely more emotionally taxing.

I am teaching three classes (Public Speaking, Intermediate Acting II & Voice for Performance). I have some great students in each of the classes who are definitely going to keep me prepared and on my toes! I am also managing the costume shop, which right now involves a massive re-organization campaign on my part so that when we start working on shows I will know where everything is.

Overall, this has been a really good week for me. I like the people I'm working with and the students seem to really want to be here and want to learn. I'm going to spend the next several hours working on lesson plans for next week to try and get ahead!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

"Our" House

As promised, here are some pictures of the little house that we are renting.

First, our bedroom, which is just to the right of the front door. It's small but functional (and Tater loves the bed!).

The other end of the bedroom

Our computer area in the second bedroom

This is looking into the second bedroom. It is still the most cluttered space but we have plans for some of the boxes... and we're hoping there is enough floor space for an aerobed for visitors! The kitty tent is an absolute favorite of Clementine... in fact she's sleeping in it right now!

This is our little dining area between the kitchen and living room area. It is directly out the door of the second bedroom.

This is our living room... everything fits pretty well (Mom, note the spot of prominence that your quilts have!)... as you can see Tater was helping me take pictures, moving from room to room with me).

Unfortunately a dark picture of the kitchen, but I think you can see how big it is... we love it! Everything has a place!

And this is the bar, which we love!!
Okay, so I just realized that I didn't take any pictures of the bathroom or the laundry area... Trust me that the bathroom looks like a typical, little bathroom (almost impossible for two people to stand in there at the same time). The laundry is LOVELY and there is an area behind it where we can stash the vacuum, cleaning supplies as well as the cat litter box and food (no more cat litter in my bathroom!!! I'm so pleased).
Hope you enjoyed the little tour of our home. I guarantee you it took you longer to look at this post than it would take for us to give you a tour in person! :)

Friday, August 17, 2007

Full campus meeting... and department-wide meetings

I think I am all meetinged-out for the week. I have tried to memorize so many people's names and faces (most without much success). The meeting this morning was a lot of repeat from yesterday (with a little extra). It seems that a lot of Adams State's higher-ups have recently turned over (the provost is new this year, the president is in his second year, etc). And it sounds like they are trying to move Adams forward.

Our full department meeting was long. But the people in the department seem very nice and the atmosphere is relaxed and engaged, which is great. We'll see what it's like mid-year!

The most important things are done. My syllabi for all three of my classes are photocopied and sitting on my desk. My schedule/office hours are posted by my door. I have all of my class rosters/attendance/grade sheets made out and ready to go. Now I'm just ready to get to it! I think this weekend Reid and I are going to relax and find some fun stuff to do. Not sure what yet... but we'll keep you posted.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

New Faculty Orientation...

Also known as paperwork central. It was an almost endless parade of faces and names, most of which I won't remember (which is fine as long as I keep their paperwork where I can find them and remember the president and provost's names!). Reid and I went through the benefits paperwork today and I have a nice little list of questions for HR (which I'm going to try and squeeze in tomorrow if they have time, get it out of the way before school starts).

Everyone seems nice... tomorrow is more meetings. And then on Monday, as my friend Julie reminded me, I get to start what I moved her for! The whole reason I want to be here... I get to start teaching! And monday evening we have a theatre department wide meeting, which should be a great way for me to get to meet a lot of the students.

On a sad note, the new provost told us a sad statistic. As the numbers have run the last couple of years, of the 535 freshman who are starting this fall, only half will be here to start their second year. Isn't that remarkable? No wonder the provost's number one priority is retention. We new faculty members are going to do all that we can too... not to keep those who shouldn't be in college, but to encourage those who should be and are just afraid (a large portion of Adams State students are first generation college students and don't always get the encouragement they need from home).

More this weekend, I promise.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Our computer is up and running!!

The cable guy came today and hooked up our computer, tv and telephone! And you know what that means... picture update!

Here are Reid and I halfway across the country (literally) in Kinsley, KS.

Unfortunately, shortly after stopping in Kinsley we found ourselves on this road... we had taken a wrong turn and had to go several miles on a dirt road in Kansas before finding our way back to US Route 50.

Pictures of windmills in Kansas... they are really quite amazing! I can understand why Quixote thought they were giants who needed to be battled!

When we got here Isabel was perfectly happy with the placement of the sofa in front of the back door (so that she could lie on it and look out!).

She and her sister Clementine both enjoyed this bottom cabinet as a fun hiding place. Unfortunately for them mean mom and dad have now filled it with pots and pans....

Tater and Mom cuddling after a long drive... In fact this is the morning after we dropped my dad at the airport (thanks for driving with us Dad!) and before all of our stuff arrived.

And speaking of stuff... Reid and I unloaded about half of our stuff by ourselves. Then four young men from the theatre department came to help us unload the rest... they unloaded all of it in 45 minutes! And there was an enormous pile in the living room! Tater wasn't sure what to do.

This is the Rio Grande, which creates the Northern and Eastern borders of Alamosa... it's right across a park from us. You can see the Sangre de Cristo mountain range in the back.

This is another shot on our walk (there are great foot paths that all leave out of the park right next to us... how convenient!).

That's all the pictures for now. I'll try and take some shots of the inside of our house (and the outside too) and post them soon. It's a cute little house and will suit our needs for awhile at least.
Tomorrow I have new faculty orientation and then Friday all faculty meetings... so I may be busy the next few days (school starts on Monday... yikes!).
So... I hope these pictures tied you over for a little while!

Monday, August 13, 2007

The Long Drive

On Saturday Reid and I set out about one in the afternoon to drive west and then north, to prove to ourselves that there is indeed something west of Alamosa. And there is!! They're called mountains. We visited several little towns (Monte Vista, South Fork, Creede and Lake City). We were in Lake City for dinner. It's about halfway around the loop we were trying to drive. We chose to keep driving even though it meant driving through more mountains at night... but hey, you're only young once, right? :) We got home about eleven and slept in late the next day.

On a completely unrelated note... the only bad thing we've found so far with our apartment is that one of the smoke detectors is right outside the bathroom door and if you open the door right after taking a shower, it goes off (which terrifies Tater). There is a little window in the shower, which if you open it helps some... and that's fine right now while it's in the fifties in the mornings. But I think we're going to have to find some other way when it is negative twenty outside...

Thursday, August 9, 2007

Long Time, No Post!

So, it's been a bit longer than I thought it would be. I am actually posting from my work computer (don't tell anyone, okay?). Our computer at home won't be hooked up until August 15, the earliest the cable guy could come out. So... no pictures until then.

So far, Alamosa has been great! The town is a nice little size. The weather is AMAZING and there are all sorts of new things to explore. One of my favorite things so far is that the local coffee shop is a not-for-profit organization that supports the local homeless shelter! So, you can get your cup of joe and not feel bad contributing to an evil empire (sorry to any Starbucks supporters out there).

I will post more later... now I need to put books up on my office bookshelves... all twelve boxes of them!